FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has introduced a new way of reporting financial results. Showing quarterly actual financial results, in addition to year-end projected results, is in keeping with a commitment made in the 2019-20 budget.

“This change in fiscal reporting demonstrates our commitment to enhancing transparency and responsible financial management,” said Finance and Treasury Board Minister Ernie Steeves. “By adding year-to-date actual results, New Brunswickers will be better positioned to follow the evolving trends facing our finances over the course of the year. This new way of reporting will identify areas where we are on track and where we need to manage more closely to meet budget targets.”

A surplus of $38 million is projected for the 2019-20 fiscal year compared to the budgeted surplus of $23.1 million. The net debt is projected to decrease by $63.8 million, which would be an improvement of $14.6 million over budget.

Revenue is projected to be $61.3 million higher than budget. Revenue from special operating agencies is projected to be up $49.1 million, mainly due to additional federal funding under the Building Canada Fund – Gas Tax Transfer. Conditional grants are projected to be up $18.6 million, mainly due to projected recoveries under the Disaster Financial Assistance program.

Total expenses are projected to be higher than budget by $46.4 million. The additional funding received under the Building Canada Fund – Gas Tax Transfer is reflected in the $28.5 million of additional expense in special operating agencies. Ordinary account expenses are projected to be up $18.6 million, mainly due to anticipated higher expenses in the departments of Health and Public Safety.

First-quarter year-to-date actual results show a surplus of $107.4 million. On a year-to-date actual basis, revenues are up $49.5 million, and expenses are up $32.3 million. Year-to-date actuals will differ from projections due to timing and other considerations.

“We have made difficult budget decisions since November, and today we start to see positive results,” said Steeves. “But let us remember that we are not in a financial position to spend more. We need to continue to make responsible choices and to get our fiscal house in order so we can reduce our net debt, lower the tax burden on New Brunswickers and grow our economy.”

The department’s outlook for the provincial economy is unchanged since the last fiscal update, with real GDP growth forecast to be 0.6 per cent for 2019. This is consistent with the consensus among private sector forecasters.

The first-quarter results are available online.